Virginia Tech HC Mike Young Apologizes for Jehovah's Witness Comments

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMarch 16, 2021

Virginia Tech head coach Mike Young directs his team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against North Carolina in the quarterfinal round of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament in Greensboro, N.C., Thursday, March 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Gerry Broome/Associated Press

Virginia Tech men's basketball head coach Mike Young apologized for comments made during an NCAA tournament press conference with reporters Tuesday after he referenced Jehovah's Witnesses when explaining why his team wasn't looking ahead of their first-round opponent, the Florida Gators.

"We're not playing the Jehovah's Witness All-Star team here. We're playing the Gators, man, we're playing the Gators. I do know who our next opponent would be if we were lucky enough to win, but there's not a chance in hell you start thinking about anything, nothing—I will not clip about anything but [head coach Mike White's] Gator team, and that's the same for my team. This is it. This is one game and if you play poorly or get outplayed, I'm going to be walking out the hall after talking to you guys via Zoom, and there's going to be an NCAA representative telling me, 'Your plane leaves in 45 minutes. Good luck to you. Go get your stuff packed and get out of here.' It may not be that tough, but let's play well and play a good ballgame. Let's see what happens."

Young then issued an apology later in the day: "Earlier today on the NCAA tournament conference call, I attempted to show my respect for our upcoming opponent, the University of Florida. Regrettably, I didn't articulate that sentiment in an appropriate manner. I apologize for my insensitive remark and am sincerely sorry for anyone I may have offended."

Young has been a Division I men's basketball head coach since 2002, when he began leading Wofford. The Terriers made five NCAA tournaments under Young, who left for Virginia Tech in 2019.

The Hokies went 16-16 last year before going 15-5 (9-4 ACC) in 2020-21 en route to an NCAA tournament appearance.

Virginia Tech and Florida will be playing the opening game of the NCAA tournament's first round Friday at 12:15 p.m. ET. The Hokies are a No. 10 seed in the South Region.